Sometimes my exhaustion prevents me from trying to figure out why I'm so exhausted. When my smartphone battery started losing its charge too quickly, I researched everything I could about ways I could change my phone habits to extend its battery life. And like iPhones which get drained when there are too many apps running in the background, push notifications turned on, etc., there are everyday habits that we as people do that drain us, without us even realizing it. So what are these common habits that are making you tired?
While it's tempting to power through the exhaustion with caffeine or to search for vitamin supplements that might give you a boost, it can be important to do an analysis of daily habits that could be contributing to your energy deficiency and could be really easy to fix. Focus on the problem, before you turn to the solution. And the issues that may be causing your fatigue may be easier to address than you think.
If you eliminate or adjust certain habits, you may find yourself with extra energy as a result and not need to reach for that energy drink that will make you feel alert temporarily, but crash soon after. Here are some habits to take a look at that might be draining your body's battery more than they should.
1. Devices At Bedtime
As tempting as it is to grab that phone and check emails, Instagram, or anything else one more time before bed, the light from phones, tablets and computers prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, a hormone that your bodies needs to help regulate sleep, according to the Health. If your nighttime reading is on your phone or that solitaire game is what lulls you to sleep, try to keep the phone 14 inches from your face to reduce the disruptive light emission, and maybe not right before or even while you're in bed.
2. Wine At Bedtime
Another nighttime temptation is a relaxing glass of vino or yummy cocktail before bed. According to Dr. Alan Towfigh, Medical Director of New York Neurology and Sleep Medicine, P.C., while you may feel initially sedated, the alcohol winds up having a rebound effect, with adrenaline coming a few hours later and causing you to wake up, disrupting the regeneration of sleep.
3. Working Vacations
With smartphones, laptops and Wi-Fi as part of your norm, it's extremely difficult to unplug, even on vacation. Bodies and minds need rest and to rejuvenate, but if we're catching up on e-mails or putting together a presentation while we are supposed to be away and recharging ourselves, it defeats the purpose, according to Health.
4. Working Lunches
In the same way it's more restful if you can take a true vacation without having to think about work, it's helpful to have a half hour during the work day to step back and take a break. It's more than just a mental break that makes a short lunch important. According to Prevention, researchers have found that being outside for even 20 minutes a day was a strong energy boost and even placing pictures of nature at your work station helped people who weren't able to go outside every day.
5. Sleeping In On The Weekends
When you are tired all week, it's tempting to sleep in on the weekends to "catch up" on a few extra hours of zzzs. While it sounds logical, it's actually counterproductive. According to Health, you will get better sleep if you are on a regular sleep pattern. Your body is set to a 24 hour clock and five days of going to bed and waking up at a certain time, followed by two erratic nights of sleep will throw off your sleep cycle. However, there is one aspect of a lazy weekend that can help — a power nap. Twenty minutes of sleep during the afternoon can recharge you, because your mind and body will rest, but not achieve deep sleep.
6. Afternoon Lattes
When the afternoon energy slump hits, it's tempting to run down to Starbucks and get a latte, but this could actually serve to make you even more tired in the long run. A 2013 study showed that caffeine consumed within six hours of bedtime can have adverse effects on falling asleep and staying asleep. If your sleep is disrupted at night, it can make you sluggish and fatigued in the morning. A better bet is to have your morning cup of coffee and resist the urge drink more after about 3 p.m.
7. Too Much Clutter
With papers all over the place, laundry in the corner, and magazines piling up on the kitchen counter, life gets cluttered. According to a study at Princeton University, the clutter interferes with a brain's ability to focus, causing fatigue. Take a little time out of your work day or your time at home to organize yourself. Don't be afraid to throw some things away or to recycle the magazines you are never going to read. If it seems too overwhelming to tackle at once, set a timer for 15 minutes and pick one small area to de-clutter in that time. In a few weeks, your house or your office will seem much better organized and you may feel less fatigued.
8. Not Eating Enough Carbs
Although many diets these days promote carbs as the enemy, your body needs carbs to produce energy, according to the Huffington Post. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who ate low carb diets had less energy for exercise and they were more fatigued. Stay away from highly processed carbs, like white flour pasta or sugar cereal, but seek out whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
9. Not Drinking Enough Water
Making sure you are hydrated is important to your energy levels. According to Health, being even 2 percent dehydrated can affect how you feel. Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, which in turn makes it harder for your heart to pump and harder for your organs to get the oxygen they need. If all your vital organs and veins are working overtime, it's no wonder that you're feeling fatigued.
10. Not Getting Enough Exercise
Being too tired to exercise can make you even more tired. Sounds like a vicious cycle, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, physical activity can improve your sleep. It might be worth pushing yourself to get to the gym or take a brisk walk or bike ride.
11. Not Having Enough Sex
Sex feels great, but it's also a boon to your energy levels. According to Chatalaine, orgasm helps release vasopressin and oxytocin, two chemicals that make you sleepy, which helps your body rest. On the flip side, if you prefer morning sex, active sex can energize you, according to Good Housekeeping.
12. Not Eating Enough Bananas
Eating bananas can help you relax. It's not the act of eating them that does it, but the magnesium that they contain. According to Prevention, magnesium is vital to energy levels, so make sure you get it from foods like bananas, green beans, tuna, Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds.
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